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Freedom of choice.... Is this America?

 
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Simple solutoin for non-smokers is that; they should demand Non-smoking "zones", not the No-Smoking "boards".
I will be happy and you too...
 
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Originally posted by Michael Morris:
Once again, your asbestos argument is specious because its use is outlawed outright and would certainly not benefit anyone involved, only a moron with a death wish would even consider risking his livelihood thus.

I am not sure what you mean by this. I have worked in many buildings (including the World Trade Center) where asbestos was used.
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Matthew Phillips:
People have to take responsibility for their actions. Freedom takes a great amount of responsibility. Dumping raw sewage into a public water supply and smoking in a private business are two different things.

The comparison was only brought up when someone tried to compare banning McDonald's hamburgers to banning smoking in public places.
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Matthew Phillips:
In fact the number of consumers goes down and both businesses suffer because of the law.

Actually this isn't true. Studies have shown that business actually gets better as many people who wouldn't go to restaraunts and bars because of smoke start going after the ban. People don't go to bars to smoke. They go to bars to drink and socialize.
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Matthew Phillips:
Second hand smoke does not cause immediate death. If you go to work somewhere and the employer allows smoking, then you can leave and your health will not be harmed to any significant degree. If you choose to stay, then you are taking responsibility for your health.

Same thing with asbestos. But the US doesn't work that way. We require employers to provide a safe workplace. If every employer could simply say, "Yeah, it's not safe but if you don't like it then don't work here" then every place of employment would be unsafe.
 
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... where asbestos was used.
Jason's argument was for new installation of asbestos. Who in their right mind would do that? Since you mention the WTC, and since I have been involved in the structural steel industry for most of my life, one of the big factors in the towers going up like a tinder box was the lack of asbestos in the fire-proofing used on the support columns and main girders. Asbestos for that purpose poses little threat to anyone's health since it is sealed in a concrete-like base. I wonder how many lives might have been spared?
 
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Originally posted by Matthew Phillips:
As to the damage anti-smoking laws cause, I strongly disagree that they do not affect businesses.


If all bars and restaurants were non-smoking, there would be no effect on business one way or the other. Additionally I think an equally strong argument could be made that smoking bans actually increase patronage.
 
Thomas Paul
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Who in their right mind would do that?
Who in their right mind would smoke?
Since you mention the WTC, and since I have been involved in the structural steel industry for most of my life, one of the big factors in the towers going up like a tinder box was the lack of asbestos in the fire-proofing used on the support columns and main girders. Asbestos for that purpose poses little threat to anyone's health since it is sealed in a concrete-like base. I wonder how many lives might have been spared?
My understanding was that asbestos was used throughout the iron-work but the explosions blew it off thus exposing the trusses to the burning fuel. It was the failure of the trusses which caused the building to fail.
http://www.civil.usyd.edu.au/latest/wtc.php
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Michael Morris:
I wonder how many lives might have been spared?


I think the end result was inevitable asbestos or not. Jet fuel just burns too hot.
Anyway, my argument was against employers being able to do what they want and if employees can just not work there if they don't like it. We know asbestos is dangerous (and illegal to use in most circumstances I believe) so we don't allow employers to make that choice. We know second hand smoke is dangerous, but not yet banned in all places. So one major difference is legal status. However we are discussing laws which would make smoking in certain places illegal, so I don't see where the comparison is necessarily that far off. If laws were passed prohibitting smoking in certain places, they would be passed for essentially the same reasons laws prohibitting the use of asbestos in construction were passed.
[ April 28, 2003: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
 
Michael Morris
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I think the end result was inevitable asbestos or not. Jet fuel just burns to hot.
Not true Jason. We still use an asbestos based fireproofing compound for new steel in refineries and chemical plants. Many of the chemicals involved in these sites burn hotter than jet fuel, yet when fires occur, the core structure usually survives. We detailed most of the steel for the ARCO clean fuels project in LA a few years back and one of the big engineering jokes was "Well everything else may be gone after the earthquake and fire, but by gosh my structure is still standing!"
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Michael Morris:
Not true Jason. We still use an asbestos based fireproofing compound for new steel in refineries and chemical plants.

You are missing the point, Michael. Asbestos was used throughout the structure. The trusses were in fact covered in asbestos. When the explosion occurred, the asbestos was blown off the trusses and the trusses were exposed to the fire. The trusses were never designed to be exposed to burning jet fuel for a long period of time. The failure of a single floor doomed the entire building since the trusses on the next floor were not designed to hold the weight of the floor above. The buildings pancaked as the failure of one floor caused the failure of the next.
 
Michael Morris
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If laws were passed prohibitting smoking in certain places, they would be passed for essentially the same reasons laws prohibitting the use of asbestos in construction were passed.
The difference is the legal status of the two. For most purposes, it is illegal to use asbestos. It is not illegal to use tobacco unless you are a minor, the same caveat that alcohol entails. I certainly don't advocate that just because someone is an employer that he have carte blanche to do whatever he pleases. Some regulation will always be necessary as history has proven. But that regulation should not defy common sense or involve anything other than the most obvious safety issues, it may only be opinion but I just don't think second-hand smoke rises to that level. And, from a practical standpoint, most indoor work facilities now are smoke free. At our meager campus, we have five small buildings, four are smoke free and in the last we allow smoking. The only two that work in that building are smokers. Of course other employees sometimes have to go into it, but in those cases, the two are courteous enough not to smoke. That's where I think the solution is. Being nice and respectful. Smokers to non-smokers and vice-versa. It's when battle lines are drawn and one side says to hell with your rights, I'm going to use my power to compell you to do it my way, that really cheapens our society. To be truly free, one must respect freedom, and ramming one's agenda down someone else's throat, just because one has the power to do so, shows a total disregard for freedom.
 
Michael Morris
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You are missing the point, Michael. Asbestos was used throughout the structure.


But not in the crucial fireproofing. If that asbestos was blown off it was due to shoddy workmanship. It is a concrete-like substance that is generally anchored at 6" intervals. I'll grant you that upon collapse of the upper levels there was no way for the lower floors to support the extra load. I was shocked to see the design of the towers. I've never seen a structural design like it before. All of the support columns were on the outside walls. Usually support columns are dispersed throughout the structure, so if you lose one there is a good chance that its neighbors can take up the slack.
Irregardless of perfect fireproofing, the towers may have gone down anyway. Who knows?
 
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I don't have any studies to back this up, but it seems like zoning laws are a natural extension of human / natural behaviors. How often do you see 'furniture row' where all the furniture stores line up, or 'stereo alley', or 'the drinking district'? It seems to me zoning laws are one of the better examples of democracy in action - and at a local level to boot!
I'm sure someone will have examples of BAD zoning decisions, but the fact is it works well most of the time... I mean really, aren't most of us happy that our next door neighbor can't decide to open up a slaughter house in his back yard?
Seems like zoning isn't really where our civil liberties are being eroded...
 
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
Actually this isn't true. Studies have shown that business actually gets better as many people who wouldn't go to restaraunts and bars because of smoke start going after the ban. People don't go to bars to smoke. They go to bars to drink and socialize.


I haven't seen those studies, so I can't comment on them. I agree that people go to bars to drink and socialize, but the people who often frequent bars for that purpose are also often smokers.
 
Matthew Phillips
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Originally posted by Eugene Kononov:
TP: Actually, the old calendar put the date in October when all us modern-folks put it on November 7th.
Thomas gets the Java book for the first right answer!
MP: I don't agree with the concept of a Constitutional amendment on this issue. The most appropriate amendment for the issue is already in the Constitution, the 10th.
Here is the 10th: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." So if people of Arizona apply their power, they can pass a law that will require a local business not to hire, say, white males, or not to be open on Tuesdays. But you seem to be against the society imposing their will on the individuals. So, how do you reconcile it with the 10th? That's where my amendment kicks in.
Eugene.


While it seems that the intent of your amendment is to lessen the amount of govnernment in our lives, it actually has the opposite effect. By creating an amendment at the federal level, you are authorizing the federal government to use force, if necessary, to enforce it. That is not the appropriate level of government to apply this situation to.
I am an advocate of applying government at the most local level possible. Bert's comment on zones seems to be pretty close to where I stand. Public smoking is not an issue for state government to decide because it is too far removed from where the problem is. In a stand alone facility, it is up to the business owner and its customers, through their spending, to decide how that business is run. In a situation such as a strip mall, the neighbors of the business should have some say to the extent that their business is affected as well.
 
Matthew Phillips
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
Same thing with asbestos. But the US doesn't work that way. We require employers to provide a safe workplace. If every employer could simply say, "Yeah, it's not safe but if you don't like it then don't work here" then every place of employment would be unsafe.


I understand what we do, my point is should we do it. I strongly disagree that every place of employment would be unsafe because there would be entrepreneurs who would provide a safe environment to draw the best employees. An example of this is ergonomic desks and chairs. Many businesses are spending the extra money to provide these for their employees because of the return in increased productivity. There is no law mandating their use, but businesses do it anyway.
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Matthew Phillips:
An example of this is ergonomic desks and chairs. Many businesses are spending the extra money to provide these for their employees because of the return in increased productivity. There is no law mandating their use, but businesses do it anyway.


Actually:
http://www.osha-slc.gov/SLTC/ergonomics/four-pronged_factsheet.html


Employers must keep their workplaces free from recognized serious hazards under the OSH Act's General Duty Clause. This includes ergonomic hazards.
OSHA will not focus its enforcement efforts on employers who have implemented effective ergonomic programs or who are making good-faith efforts to reduce ergonomic hazards.
OSHA will conduct inspections for ergonomic hazards and issue citations under the General Duty Clause and issue ergonomic hazard alert letters where appropriate. OSHA will conduct follow-up inspections or investigations within 12 months of certain employers who receive ergonomic hazard alert letters.

 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Matthew Phillips:
In a stand alone facility, it is up to the business owner and its customers, through their spending, to decide how that business is run.

Do you think a business should be able to refuse to serve a customer because of their race?
 
Michael Morris
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Do you think a business should be able to refuse to serve a customer because of their race?
I can't speak for Matthew, but I can uncatagorically say no to that one. I remember growing up in the early 60s the terrible time the African Americans had because of this. In establishments that actually catered to non-whites there would be three rest rooms: Men, Women and Colored. There would also be two water fountains. Most businesses just had a large sign that said "Whites only". This must have been a humiliating experience, but nonetheless almost to a person, they were the salt of the earth. It shames me that my ancestors would treat fellow human beings this way. My 100-year-old grandmother, God bless her, will go to her grave being prejudiced. It's a legacy I hope will some day just be a very bad memory.
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Michael Morris:
Do you think a business should be able to refuse to serve a customer because of their race?
I can't speak for Matthew, but I can uncatagorically say no to that one.

So you agree that the government does have some right to restrict the freedom of business owners. So it's merely a question of how much which is generally best left to the voters to decide.
------
I too am old enough to remember the 60's and the fight for civil rights. I remember rioting by whites in Boston over busing. I remember the riots in Watts when Martin Luther King was murdered. I remember George Wallace vowing that no black person (he didn't quite use this phrase) would ever be treated the same as a white person in his state. I think people in their 20's and 30's think of this as all ancient history but it wasn't.
 
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Non-smoking? how 'bout non-scented:
------------------------------
Friday, April 25, 2003 -- SHUTESBURY - In a quest to create a "fragrance-free" Town Meeting, the town's voters this spring will be asked to self-segregate based on whether they use perfumes, scented deodorants and detergents and other products that might bother people with chemical sensitivities.
Voters entering the Shutesbury Elementary School gymnasium for the May 3 Town Meet will find three seating areas: one for those who never use scented products; one for those who didn't use a cologne or other product that particular day but sometimes do; and one for those wearing scents.
The last area will be labeled, "Seating for those who forgot and used cologne and perfume."
"We're not going to have people standing at the door and sniffing," said Town Administrator David Ames, who also serves as the Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator.
But there will be a separate entrance for those who completely eschew scented products.
The seating arrangement was suggested by the Massachusetts Office of Disabilities, which recommended establishing fragrance zones, Ames said. He said the office has also recommended this seating system to other Massachusetts towns.
"What you're talking about here is a physical impact on people, something that will make people sick," Ames said.
In that sense, Ames said the issue is not unlike that of smoking. Ames says it is matter of common courtesy, not a matter of asking people to change their lifestyles.
"We want all citizens to be able to attend Town Meeting, and with a little cooperation, we can do that," Ames said.
The town's effort to become fragrance-free began in 2001, but the town is still getting complaints about people not complying.
Ziporah Hildebrandt, chairwoman of the town's ADA Committee, has written articles for the town's "Our Town" newsletter, describing the move toward a fragrance-free environment as a civil rights issue, especially for those suffering from multiple chemical sensitivities, as she does.
"No one who wants to go should be unable to attend, for whatever reason," Hildebrandt said.
Many people don't realize their personal care products are scented, she said.
"One of the biggest things is making people aware of fragrances at public meetings," Hildebrandt said.
Last summer, a survey conducted by the ADA Committee nine of 52 respondents identified themselves as sufferers of multiple chemical sensitivity disorder.
As a result of Hildebrandt's work, the M.N. Spear Library now holds fragrance-free hours Mondays from 10:30 a.m. to noon. During those hours, patrons are not allowed to wear fragrances and the laser printer is turned off. Anyone who does not comply is asked to leave the building.
Some residents, like Gina Gigante of West Pelham Road, are concerned that people might stay away from Town Meeting for fear of offending their neighbors.
"People who have no intention of offending anyone might feel anxious," Gigante said.
But Ames said he isn't sure people will stay away because of the fragrance-free policy. Rather, he says he knows of people who don't attend because of the fragrances.
Despite this effort, Hildebrandt said she will not be able to attend Town Meeting, since she can't even go into the school building because of odors that bother her.
-------------------------------
 
Michael Morris
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So you agree that the government does have some right to restrict the freedom of business owners. So it's merely a question of how much which is generally best left to the voters to decide.
For me Thomas, it's never been a question of whether the government has the right to restrict certain business activities, but the extent that it has to restrict. There are obviously conducts that are so repulsive to any rational person that demand restriction. The second-hand smoke argument is infinitesimal compared to the humiliation that my fellow African American Texans had to endure in the 60s. They had no choices. I state once more, you don't have to patronize a business that allows smoking and you don't have to work there. No one is calling you the n-word or saying you have to use the (filthy) colored restroom or you have to come in the back door. You have a choice.
 
Thomas Paul
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For me Thomas, it's never been a question of whether the government has the right to restrict certain business activities, but the extent that it has to restrict.
And who decides what the extent should be? I would assume that would be left to the voters and their elected representatives.
There are obviously conducts that are so repulsive to any rational person that demand restriction.
You mean like burning a carcinogenic material and spreading the carcinogenic smoke into the environment so that others around you can get lung cancer?
 
Michael Morris
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You mean like burning a carcinogenic material and spreading the carcinogenic smoke into the environment so that others around you can get lung cancer?

Like driving your car to work and producing greenhouse gases (and carcinogens) and destroying the ozone layer? What about the refineries that produce the gas for your car? There is an increased environmental risk of cancer around most chemical facilities due to certain byproducts and intermeidate products. Let's shut them down too. Where do you draw the line? The second hand smoke (if I smoked) in my house or bar does not affect anyone who chooses not to enter.
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Michael Morris:
The second hand smoke (if I smoked) in my house or bar does not affect anyone who chooses not to enter.


The other things you mentioned are part of a trade-off. We live with greehouse gases because if we stopped using fossil fuels then millions of people would die.
As to the above, smoking in the workplace does affect the people who work there, many who have no choice but to work there. Should your boss be permitted to store carcinogenic materials on your desk? After all, if you don't like it you can quit.
 
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Thomas Paul: The other things you mentioned are part of a trade-off. We live with greehouse gases because if we stopped using fossil fuels then millions of people would die.
:roll: But if we keep using fossil fuels the way we use them, millions of people WILL die. Asking government and large corporations to sponsor research of new fuels is like letting a fox guard a henhouse.
You can choose not to work for company A. In fact one (hopefully) considers all different aspects of job offer before accepting a position. You can also choose not to drive a monster SUV to and from work.
Shura
 
Michael Morris
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... many who have no choice but to work there.
Is someone holding a gun to their head? This smoke in the workplace argument is really a non-issue, except for the case of restaurants and bars. I don't know of any businesses in this area where smoking is allowed in enclosed areas or in any of my business dealings, mostly the Houston area. And this is Bible Belt conservative country. Why can't the minority who smoke have a place to relax and congregate if the owner and employees have no problem with it? Are we trying to save them from themselves? Or, are we trying to ram our superior position down their throats? That kind of majority rule, where a minority is treated with utter disregard is not my idea of freedom or what this country was envisioned to be by its founders. The fact is, the government does have broad powers to regulate. Yes it is legal and constitutional if a local government says no smoking anywhere, just like it was legal and constitutional (according to Federal Court rulings of the era) for southern blacks to be treated as subhuman. As long as tobacco products are legal, we have no moral right to say to any adult you can't use that. And I think that's what this all comes down to, people with a perceived superior view wishing to impose that view on everyone.
 
Matthew Phillips
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:
Do you think a business should be able to refuse to serve a customer because of their race?


As much as the practice would disgust me, yes. Should you be required to allow anyone into your home just because they want to come in? In either case we are talking about restricting access to private property.
I personally would not do business with anyone who had such a restriction. But that is my choice and it has no impact on the property rights of others.
We, as programmers, assigning responsibility where it belongs. Why shouldn't the business owner be responsible for how the business is run, as long as it doesn't remove the rights of another person. When the rights of others are effected, move the responsibility to the appropriate level where the affected people have a say and no one else. Responsibility is assigned to the lowest appropriate level so that the decision making process isn't affected by people not really involved with the issue.
Take, for example, interstate commerce. The lowest appropriate level for governance of the issue is the federal level so that all states are involved in the decision making process and no one else.
[ April 30, 2003: Message edited by: Matthew Phillips ]
 
Thomas Paul
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Originally posted by Matthew Phillips:
As much as the practice would disgust me, yes. Should you be required to allow anyone into your home just because they want to come in? In either case we are talking about restricting access to private property.


So suppose we had an area that was mostly white people. They go up to all the businesses and tell them that if they serve any black people that they will stop shopping there. The stores, not wanting to lose most of their customers, refuse to serve blacks. The blacks are forced to move out of the area because they can't buy basic necessities. This is the polite version because in reality white people used violence to prevent stores from serving blacks.
By the way, the federal government used the interstate commerce clause to end this type of segregation.
By the way, a business is not a private place in the same sense that your home is.
 
Matthew Phillips
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Originally posted by Thomas Paul:

So suppose we had an area that was mostly white people. They go up to all the businesses and tell them that if they serve any black people that they will stop shopping there. The stores, not wanting to lose most of their customers, refuse to serve blacks. The blacks are forced to move out of the area because they can't buy basic necessities. This is the polite version because in reality white people used violence to prevent stores from serving blacks.
By the way, the federal government used the interstate commerce clause to end this type of segregation.
By the way, a business is not a private place in the same sense that your home is.


I'm not advocating violence. I'm also not saying that deciding not to serve a particular race is right. It is wrong. What I am saying that private property is private property. It does not matter if it is your home, your car, or your business. They are all the same. You choose how you want to use your private property, so long as it doesn't affect the rights of others to life, liberty, or property.
Your scenario of all business refusing to serve blacks because of a white majority is theoretically possible. How will that stop someone who is black from opening a business? What if one of the white owners decides to take a stand and refuse to serve the people who attempt to force him to stop service black people? That is the right of the business owner. I'm not suggesting that segregation be written into law, as was the case before the civil rights movement. I'm suggesting that laws that hamper the rights to life, liberty, and property must be carefully weighed before they are passed and that they be passed at a level where only those affected by the law are a part of the decision making process.
 
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MP: What I am saying that private property is private property. It does not matter if it is your home, your car, or your business. They are all the same. You choose how you want to use your private property, so long as it doesn't affect the rights of others to life, liberty, or property.
Yes, you can do whatever you want in your private property, even if it is your business place.
But when you run a business, you have to incorporate or register it first in some way. Money is involved, transactions are involved. There are a certain laws that businesses have to follow and avoiding race based discrimination is a business related law, imho. That law does not affect your right to use your property in anyway.
Even if you sell something online where there is no property involved, you still cannot discriminate customers based on race. Because that is a law related to conducting fair business practices and not related to your property.
 
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[Removed reference to Melvin's post]
I think some basic laws are definitely a good thing but the no-smoking law in bars crosses the line.
There are several "swing" bars that allow entrance for couples only. Isn't it a kind of discrimination? But that is essential for running their business. So why can't there by restaurants that permit smoking? It should be up to the business owner to decide whether he wants to cater to smokers on non-smokers.
As far the employee health is concerned, yes, second hand smoke is definitely a health hazard but there is some hazard in every job. The chairs in my company are so lousy, my back aches if I don't take a break every 1/2 hr. A sports arena or a rock concert theater employee might go deaf working in such a noisy place.
But then a smoker's bar is not a health hazard for employees who smoke...so what's the problem if all his employees are smokers???
[ May 01, 2003: Message edited by: Pakka Desi ]
 
Melvin Menezes
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Pakka, how is your post related to mine? Why did you quote my post. I did not comment against or in favor of smoking ban.
I was replying to Matthew that discrimination against a race has nothing to do with property rights. It is a business related issue. Even in your case of 'couples-only' example, it is a business related matter, and not property related, imho.
 
Matthew Phillips
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Originally posted by Melvin Menezes:
MP: What I am saying that private property is private property. It does not matter if it is your home, your car, or your business. They are all the same. You choose how you want to use your private property, so long as it doesn't affect the rights of others to life, liberty, or property.
Yes, you can do whatever you want in your private property, even if it is your business place.
But when you run a business, you have to incorporate or register it first in some way. Money is involved, transactions are involved. There are a certain laws that businesses have to follow and avoiding race based discrimination is a business related law, imho. That law does not affect your right to use your property in anyway.
Even if you sell something online where there is no property involved, you still cannot discriminate customers based on race. Because that is a law related to conducting fair business practices and not related to your property.


I'm not sure if my point is getting across properly. I'm not trying to say discrimination is legal. I understand that it is not. My point is that a business is private property. There is money and transactions involved with the purchase or sale of any piece of private property. If you sell you house, money is involved. In the case of a business you just happen to sell your private property a lot more often.
I'm also not saying that there should be no law and no government. Government and law are necessities in a free society. My point is that decisions on law should be made at an appropriate level so that the decision isn't left in the hands of people that aren't necessarily affected by the law. In the case of a ban on smoking in public facilities, I believe that it should be left up to the business owner, possibly the neighbors of the business owner if they are affected, and the customers through their spending habits.
In the case of racial discrimination it should be left up to the business owner and the customers, again through their spending habits. Certain types of discrimination are still legal if you look at the United Negro College Fund and programs like affirmative action. I believe that laws for or against racial discrimiation should be removed from the books so that people truly have equal protection under the law.
 
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I should make one clarification before someone calls me on it. When I say laws for or against discrimination should be removed, I am referring to laws that punish individuals for those actions. I am not referring to overturning constitutional amendments guarenteeing equal protection under the law, voting rights, etc. Those are laws against government discrimination which I whole heartedly agree with.
[ May 01, 2003: Message edited by: Matthew Phillips ]
 
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